KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s first virtual Chinese New Year night market themed "Staying safe is the new reunion" was held successfully with more than 50,000 views on Tuesday (Feb 9).
The online event, which lasted for about five hours, saw Internet users interact in real time with the emcees - Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe and Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin - who went stall by stall to introduce the goods on sale and to take orders.
Traders who were present for the virtual night market stationed at the Foh Sang commercial centre also took turns promoting their goods and telling viewers how to make their orders.
“This is the new norm and we have to adapt to it, we need to embrace and make the best of the situation, ” said Phoong, who is also Sabah DAP Socialist Youth chief.
"'Many families might be stranded all over the world and unable to return home to celebrate Chinese New Year but staying safe and healthy is what matters now," Phoong said.
"This year, staying safe and healthy is our new reunion and I believe we can meet everyone physically soon after the pandemic is gone," he said.
On the virtual night market, he said organisers spent about five days on the planning right up to the live stream.
Phoong’s team initiated the online event to replace the annual physical night market that was supposed to be held at Foh Sang in Luyang near here.
"We know amid the pandemic, we cannot be celebrating together physically but I hope this event could share the joy of Chinese New Year with everyone," he said.
The night market featured famous YouTubers and performers such as Soya Plan, Jasmine Chong, Jacinta Chia, 4AG, Jovy Chong and more.
There were also traditional Chinese orchestra performances from the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Orchestra and Kian Kok Chinese Orchestra.
Performances were screened online while Phoong and Chan helped local hawkers sell their products online.
"Of course, we also acknowledge our shortcomings as we faced a lot of technical challenges throughout the night, ” Phoong said.
"With Facebook’s updated New Page Features, we could not message those who comment immediately and that caused inconvenience to the public," he said.
He apologised for the inconvenience caused and said that he would improve their virtual events in future.